Category:Business Models

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This category is for P2P business models. Articles should emphasize P2P dynamics.


Key Concepts

Open Business Models (in general)

Read: Open vs Closed Platforms as Business Choice.From a dialogue between Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School, and Mark VandenBrink, who leads Frog Design, conducted by Mr. Sherr and Mr. Totty. [1]


  1. Open Business ; Open Business Models
  2. Commons-Based Business Models ; Business Models for the Commons
  3. Online mindmap overview by Robin Good: Online Business and Monetization Models

See also:

  1. Crowdfunding

Open Culture Business Models

Seven Main Business Models for Open Culture

1. Crowdfunding: pre-financing cultural production by fans, with commitment to keep cultural work open; ex. Kickstarter Ulule KissKissBankBank

2. Crowdsourcing: i.e. opening up contributions to the public

3. Disintermediation strategies: shortening the supply chain between production and consumption; example BandCamp for music

4. Double diffusion: free digital works , but sale of physical works (ex. Cory Doctorow)

5. Freemium: basic version free, added-value versions for sale

6. Models based on commercial restrictions, but free to share non-commercially (CC non-commercial, Copyfair, FairlyShare

7. Gift Economy models, 'pay-what-you-want'; example Humble Bundle for games

More Information

  1. Cultural Flatrate
  2. Platform-Centred_Business_Models_for_Cultural_Production
  3. Project-Based_Business_Models_for_Cultural_Production
  4. User-Generated Content - Business Models
  5. Open Content Business Models

See also this overview of Open Content Business Models:

  • Stephen Downes, 2007: Economics in a DRM-Free World [2] [3]
  • Mindmap of open art and culture business models, by Lionel Maurel, in French


Open Education Business Models


Open Energy Business Models

The three forms of distributed finance for distributed energy:

  1. Leasing, e.g. Solar Leasing Financial Model
  2. Community Power, e.g. Community Solar Financial Model
  3. Power Purchase Agreements, e.g. Solar Power Purchase Agreements

Open Software Business Models

See: Taxonomy of Open Source Business Models

  1. Open Core Business Model
  2. Open Source Business Models
  3. Open_Source_Software_Business_Models
  4. Open Source Software Service Model
  5. Free_Software_Business_Models
  6. Open Source Software - Business Aspects
  7. Open Source Commercialization
  8. Open_Source_as_Business_Strategy

Open Hardware Business Models

  1. Open Source Hardware Business Models
  2. Open_Hardware_Business_Models

Open Media Business Models

  1. Business Models to Support Content Commons
  2. Open Access Publishing Income Models
  3. Open Music Business Models
  4. Open Film Business Models
  5. Social_Media_Business_Models

Crowdsourcing Business Models

  1. Crowd Business Models

Related Categories

  1. Crowdfunding Music Crowdfunding
  2. Peer Funding
  3. Peer Property
  4. Commons

Comparative Table: The Logic of the Market versus the Logic of the Commons

Market Commons

What can I sell?Exchange value

What do we need?Use value

Core beliefs Scarcity Plenty
Homo oeconomicus Homo cooperans
It's about resources (allocation). It's about us.
Governance Market-State Polycentric / Peer-to-Peer Governance
Decision making hierarchical horizontal
Command (Power, Law, Violence) Consensus, Free Cooperation, self-organization
Social relationships Centralization of power (monopoly)

Decentralization of power(autonomy)

Property Possession
Access to rival resources Limited by boundaries & rules defined by owner Limited by boundaries & rules defined by usergroups
Access to nonrival resources Made scarce (to ensure profitability) Open access (to ensure social equity)
Use rights Granted by owner Co-decided by user groups
Dominant strategy Out-compete Out-cooperate
For the resources


Conservation Reproduction & Multiplication

For the people Exlusion & Participation Inclusion & Emancipation


Open Source is Benefit-Driven, not Revenue-Driven

"That's the bottom line. Open source projects are not products intended to produce revenues. It is a mistake to think of them that way. Open source software is developed in order to satisfy a need, one typically experienced by the developers themselves, and an open source project is not a commodity, it is a community. Yes, people need to earn money in order to live. This is true for every single person that works on open source projects. But making money from the open source product itself is very much the exception, not the rule, and depends on a lot of things falling into place."

- Stephen Downes, [6], p. 54

Openness requires Sharing

"Business models that employ the word "Open" are really incomplete if they are solely focused on what happens with revenue (even if that focus is related to sharing of revenue).

The part of the model that is unique to each business entity or group is: "what is shared?"

Based on the questions "what is shared?", or "what can be shared?" the business model can evolve per business to include many types of sharing. This is mostly limited to what the participants are *willing* to share together as a group."

- Sam Rose, June 2010

The Beekeeper Model

"The Bee Keeper creates an environment that is attractive for bees: accommodation and a natural, food-rich habitat. The bees do what they do naturally and make honeycombs. The Bee Keeper sells the honey and bees-wax to his customers and uses the money to grow his bee farm."

- James Dixon [7]

Key Resources

Key Articles

  • The must-read trilogy with an overview of the literature and experience until 2011 is from Massimo Menichelli:
  1. Business Models for Open Hardware
  2. Business Models for Fab Labs
  3. Business Models for DIY Craft

  • Two classic essays are:
  1. Frank Hecker. Setting Up Shop
  2. Bruno Perens. The Emerging Economic Paradigm of Open Source


  1. Value Derived from Open Source is a Function of Maturity Levels: excellent presentation with many overview tables
  2. Sustainability of FLOSS-Based economic models presentation by Carlo Daffara which focuses on the role of firms.
  3. Open Source Software and the Private-Collective Innovation Model. Eric von Hippel and Georg von Krogh
  4. Quantifying the Value of Open Source Hardware Development. Methods developed by engineer Joshua M. Pearce to calculate the value of designs that can be P2P manufactured using digital technology.

  • Recommended Resources by Tony Bailetti:
  1. Open Source is not a Business Model
  2. Open Source Business Model is "Broken". Really?
  3. Open Source: The Model is Broken
  4. Licensing and Business Models
  5. What Vendors Really Mean by Open Source
  6. Clarifying Business Models: Origins, Present and Future of the Concept


  1. New Economic Models, New Software Industry Economy. By RTNL, the French National Network for Software Technologies.

Book chapters:

  1. Economics of open source, at
  2. Open source as user innovation – von Hippel, at
  3. Analysis of OS Business models, at
  4. Allocation of resources in OS mode,
  5. Open Source as a Business Strategy, by Brian Behlendorf, at

Other Research:

  1. Appropriating the Commons: Firms in Open Source Software. Linus Dahlander.
  2. Open Source and the software industry. How firms do business out of an open innovation paradigm. By Andrea Bonaccorsi, Monica Merito, Cristina Rossi, Lucia Piscitello.


  1. Mozilla/Apache case studies, at
  2. Microsoft shared source,


  1. Venture Capital Investments in P2P Companies

Key Books

  • The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing Lisa Gansky. Portfolio / Penguin Group, FALL 2010
  • What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers (Fall, HarperCollins), 2010
  • Philippe Aigrain. Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age. Amsterdam Univ. Pr., 2011: "What if we consider that sharing a digitally published work in one's possession with other individuals is a fundamental right? What if we break away from the idea of compensating the entertainment right holders for supposed harms resulting from sharing? What is a reasonable reward and financing model for sustaining a many-to-all cultural society?

Key Courses

  1. Economic Aspects of Free Software : free course from the Free Technology Academy of the Free Knowledge Institute [8]

Key People

Owen Greaves recommends the following experts on open business models [9]:

1.) Gerd Leonhard –

2.) Glen Hiemstra –

3.) Chris Brogan -

4.) Olivier Blanchard -

5.) Trey Pennington –

6.) Scott Stratten -

7.) Louis Gray –

8.) Jeff Jarvis –

9.) Chris Anderson – (Of Wired Magazine)

10.) Ross dawson –

Key Podcasts / Webcasts

  1. Mark Shuttleworth on the Business Ecology of Ubuntu
  2. Business Models for the Commons: Panel at the Wizard of OS 2006 conference: Video [10] and Audio [11]
  3. SXSW Talk on Commons-Based Business Models


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Pages in category "Business Models"

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